All reader reviews by Dr Benway

Michael Moore

It seems that Mr Moore's restaurant has more split decisions than the Arizona Board of Boxing Control....

I went with my girlfriend and another couple who were celebrating their engagement. It's fair to say they are regulars chez moore and we were all greeting with a very tasty strawberry bellini...always welcome.

The menu is moderne, in that there are lots of things you'll recognise but not neccessarily in the way they have been cooked, teamed with other ingredients or presented.

My sweetbreads were firm and succulant - looking more like large cod gougons than sweetbreads, but melting in my mouth. It's here that the first comparison with The Fat Duck came to mind - what you see may not be what you expect, or what you get. Classic french ingrediants teamed with oriental spices - tandori foie gras, for example, was slightly strange but worked very well indeed.

The other's starters were all excellent, espcialy The Chief Surveyor's wontons of lobster, squid and clam.

Mains were equally great - my two fat monkfish stakes in saffron broth looked like generous lobster tails. And were perfect.

Michael himself is a charming, funny, and clearly very talented man who has assembled a strong front and back of house team around him - there may be soemthing of the Ansley H about him, but if that is his greatest failing; then I forgive him.

Overall a great evening - £250 or so for 4 with a bottle each of red, white, champagne and a half of desert wine - with high class, well executed food cooked with precision, and just like the Chef, humour and a sprinkling of the unconventional.

Monday, February 27, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9

Smiths of Smithfield

For those of you who are not familiar with the place, please do not be put off by the bottom floor bar: full of 20 something city boys and girls conducting their trysts by night with all the sincerity with which they sell their position short by day.

Upstairs, nestling on wooden floors is a very well put together bistro: serving the sort of food you'd do at home if, quite frankly, you had the time and inclination.

Very pleasant for business or a more grown up tryst of your own.

Between us we had mushrooms on toast, salt cod rillettes, a steak, spatch cock chicken and eight bottles of Smith's (smiths' ?) own organic beer. £63. And v good value.

Thursday, February 09, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9


Impressed. Not expecting to be. I would normally walk half a mile in the rain to avoid eating in an hotel restaurant Claridges excepted). The £19.95 three course lunch looked good and all of us ate half on and half off the set menu without any of the usual grumbles from the wait staff. Of whom all six or seven who attended to us were excellent. My potatoe and leek soup was exactly as leaky as I'd like. Although the deep fried parsnip (?) crisps on top were an unwanted addition.

Monk fish & mussels in saffron broth was perhaps a touch over curried - and being from Anglo-Indian stock that is saying a thing - but on reflection: very good.

Over all: an excellent lunch. Good food, funky ( the mural behind the bar challenges those on the Michelin building for art deco grace) surroundings and top staff.

A real soho hide-away

Thursday, February 09, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


Dined at Inside last night; although we ate the pre theatre menu (and thus had to be clear by 8.30) we didn't feel hurried at any time and at £14.95 for two courses (£17.95 for three) it was exceptional value.

This is a great neighbourhood eatery, but with qualities that would suit the more rarified atmosphere "up west" - the fact that it's at the unfashionable end of Greenwich has probably helped to keep its light under Gary Bushell. Long may that continue as I'd happly keep Inside an SE10 residents only club.....

Our food showed craft, good sourcing and imagination - Her cauliflower soup and steak may be bistro staples, but my lamb kofta followed by mackeral masala were excellent. Perhaps the mackeral could have done more than just being shown the spice jar, but the lack of curry punch didn't take away from the overall balance of the dish.

Excellent. In the words of Withnail "we're coming back in here...."

Saturday, January 21, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10

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